An international award for rap music is probably not what you'd expect the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) to receive, but that's exactly what has happened.
The APO's Remix the Orchestra, a programme that melds classical music with hip-hop through work with young urban musicians and at-risk youth, is one of only three organisations in the world to receive the 2013 International Music Council (IMC) Musical Rights Award. IMC is an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO.
Remix the Orchestra started in 2008 and has since given dozens of young people an outlet for their creative talents, while at the same time providing a context for them to develop valuable life skills.
Annual workshops have resulted in several CDs, many participants have performed in public with members of the APO, while three particularly talented graduates have received Remix scholarships to professionally record and release songs and videos.
Another participant has graduated from university with a Bachelor of Music and has produced her own single and video, while yet another is currently finishing a music PhD.
The Remix programme’s music director is classically trained musician Matthew Faiumu Salapu, aka hip-hop producer Anonymouz. Other professional hip-hop musicians to have taken part in Remix include David Dallas, Dei Hamo, King Kapisi, Ermehn, Tyree, Frisko and DJCXL.
“In the 21st century orchestras must reach beyond the concert stage to bring people together, whether they are horn players or hip-hop fans,” says Barbara Glaser, CEO of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. “We are honoured to receive this award, because it recognises what all Remix the Orchestra participants share: a love of music and a belief in its power to change lives.”
Remix was nominated for the award by SOUNZ, Centre for New Zealand Music.
THE APO shares this year's award with Music and Resilience for the Palestinian Refugees of Lebanon, which aims to empower children and adolescents living in refugee camps; and Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technology, an Argentinean programme aimed at recovering and giving artistic life to indigenous and largely forgotten musical instruments.